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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 21, 2022

#publictalk: “How We Can Protect Ourselves from Satan’s Snares.”

“The fish sees the lure, but doesn’t see the hook, doesn’t see the line, doesn’t see the net, and certainly doesn’t see the skillet on your kitchen,” the speaker points out.

Understand Satan and ways better so we can protect ourselves, he says. Yes.

Some say devil created by God to balance universe? Instead, it works as Jas 1:14 says, each one is enticed by own desire, that desire when fertile leads to sin. That sequence happened to Satan, who really created himself, since name satan means adversary,,

“Any lure this system offers nothing but a cheap knock-off, it’s a farce,” says the speaker, as he goes on to focus on two “lures”—pride and greed. And after that, discussion of that suit of spiritual armor from Ephesians 6.

 

#watchtowerstudy today: “Why We Attend the Memorial.” Theme scripture: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”​—LUKE 22:19

Huh! Conductor was disconnected. Someone else had to introduce, now he is back. This kind of thing won’t happen starting next week.

Para 5: The hope of anointed is immediate, one bro says. If he dies, he is in the grave until the resurrection. For anointed to die in the Lord’s day, it is: “We will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye…1/2

during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up. (1 Cor 15:51-52)….2/2

Para 9-11: 3 paragraphs that open with scriptures. Zach 8:23  ‘ten men grab hold of skirt of a Jew,’ Ezekiel 37, ‘stick of Joseph and Ephraim united,’ Matthew 25:31-36, ‘other sheep supporting Christ’s brothers.

Para 14. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” It’s a good thing to be able to explain just how this works, involving corresponding ransom of perfect life

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Para 20: Okay, Zoom Memorials got the job done—we made it work—but real live in-person ones will be a welcome resumption of what is normal.

 

“And all those gathered here will know that it is not with the sword or the spear that Jehovah saves, for the battle belongs to Jehovah, and he will give all of you into our hand,” said David to Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:47) #midweekmeeting

The Philistine then said: “I do taunt the battle line of Israel this day. Give me a man, and let us fight it out!” (1 Samuel 17:10) Why do I think of Elon Musk just now, who challenged Putin to hand-to-hand combat with Ukraine as the prize? (Did you know that Joe Rogan offered to train him?)

Goliath wore more in armor than David probably weighed, one sis says, and yet David goes on and on about how he’s going to feed his flesh to the birds, etc, etc. Faith at work, she says.

“When his oldest brother Eliab heard him speak to the men, he became angry with David and said: “Why have you come down?… I well know your presumptuousness and the bad intentions of your heart; you came down just to see the battle.” (1 Samuel 17:28) ….1/2

Is this rush to judgment the heart God could see into but humans couldn’t?….2/2

“Jehovah eventually said to Samuel: “How long will you mourn for Saul now that I have rejected him from ruling as king over Israel? …go…I will send you to Jesʹse the Bethlehemite” (1 Samuel 17:1)   Look, the guy’s a loser. I’ve moved on. How about you?….1/2

I had the Bible reading tonight and tried to make that point stand out….2/2

The dog interrupts Zoom, barks it head off because deer are on the hill across the street. After a lull, it resumes barking, I look, and they are much closer. I expect him to look up again and find them inches away, staring directly into the window, as though in the Twilight Zone C22747F9-1B27-45FE-B15B-B94D397BF2F7

“I was horrified when several masked officers broke down the doors and burst into the home where the meeting was being held. Everything happened at once, loud sounds, noise, the order [for] everyone [to] sit on the floor.”…“I was overcome with fear when they put me in handcuffs place me in the police find and took me to jail.”…“I was afraid because I didn't know how long I would be there and what was awaiting me”…“I was mostly afraid about what I would face in prison, whom I would encounter, how to act,  how others would treat me—the unknown.”…“when one of the officers began to describe how bad life is behind bars I imagined that behind the officer stood an angel just like the one who supported Daniel in the illustration. this helped me to calm down not panic or be afraid. That's how jehovah supported me.”

“When you don't concentrate on yourself and focus on helping others fear disappears.”…“Something that helped me to cope with my fears is hope looking at the situation through Jehovah's eyes seeing what would happen next that this is not the end of the situation but only a difficult phase through which you can pass.”…“I understood that it was important to solve problems as they came up and not to be troubled by what might never happen.”

“Fear is interesting, fear can be inside a person and if someone is afraid that is not shameful but the question is can you overcome this fear can you get the fear under your control can you overcome the surge of negativity and when my heart swayed me to get scared next word to pray I pray to jehovah to give me courage and not be afraid of anyone or anything.”…“I still say to myself….do not fear anybody or anything except Jehovah.”

“I really appreciate your support very happy for all your latest thoughts from all your prayers I really appreciate it a lot I try to do my best and I try to search your home in the best way that I I will do that forever.”

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

It’s so Hard to Dramatize Mildness

You don’t check with true believers for plaudits. They’ll praise anything. Nor do you check with your detractors. They’ll trash everything. You run it by people who are neutral. That’s why I loved this review of the Regional Convention.  The visitor is skeptical, but he’s open and fair. Of course, we would prefer that he fall on his face and say, “God is really among you people!” but you have to take what you can get.

Alas, he compared the Jonah presentation to a B movie from the Bible Channel! Them’s fighting words! I liked that video.

Strictly speaking, though, maybe B movie status is the best one can hope for. My unspoken fear is that the brothers do not go to all that trouble of recreating settings from antiquity and then undermine it by so-so acting. Great acting will overcome a minimalist setting—just witness any stage play, but the reverse is not true: Meticulous settings will not overcome wooden acting. It is encouraging to hear how actors are being selected from submitted auditions. I just worry that talent will be recognized when presented and not tamped down in an effort to make “mildness” come through. Sorry to say, some of our dramatized characters strike me as so “mild” as to be uninteresting. I get it that mildness is a fruitage of the spirit but I don’t want to see them so mild that I can’t picture them doing what the scriptures say they do. Even Jesus—I want to see him mild, sure, but I also want to see in him the man that nobody dares question after he shows enemies up as hypocrites, or the man who “passes through their midst” and nobody has the courage to interfere.

And nobody was able to say a word in reply to him, and from that day on, no one dared to question him any further. (Matthew 22:46)

…and they rose up and rushed him outside the city, and they led him to the brow of the mountain on which their city had been built, in order to throw him down headlong. 30 But he went right through their midst and continued on his way. (Luke 4:29-30)

Now, no matter what comes out I’ll swoon in appreciation, don’t worry about that, but you really do take risks when you do video. You’re presenting to an audience accustomed to convincing actors, and you’d better measure up. Granted, you’re not going to produce Oscar-winning performances, but hopefully they will persuade more than the uncritical true believer. 

Over time, and with some wobbles, our performances have improved. We do get better. To some extent, “acting” is antithetical to Christians since it means presenting a false front, pretending to be what you are not. The early Christians (per secular historians) frowned upon it. More than frowned upon it—they thought it the work of the devil So almost by definition, we’re not particularly good at it, and of course the brothers also are limited by choosing those who are exemplary. It won’t do to have “Jesus” go apostate a few years down the road. We will accept in Hollywood entertainment that the movie hero may be a slimeball in real life but you can run theocracy that way.

Of course, the videos are also teaching vehicles. They are not simply entertainment in which Moses pops Pharaoh in the nose and gets the girl. 3A9ACEE4-2E93-4333-AC5E-53C138ACAA1D
Yet I know that young people will see our videos through the eyes of contemporary standards and are not so inclined to excuse unconvincing acting. Or even speaking. “Time does not permit…” one broadcast brother said. ‘Well it would if you’d pick up the pace a little.’ I muttered under my breath.

Alas, if you add any of the spice that makes speech and action interesting, it becomes a turn-off to someone of another culture and background where they just never behave that way. So the brothers take no chances. They avoid the pitfall altogether and trowel on dramatization unambiguous and unfettered with anything potentially offputting. It is a test for those used to fine writing and oratory to not be so full of themselves, dial back artistic considerations, accept that sometimes they will get plain vanilla, and deal with “just the facts, ma’am.” Ah, well—I’ve said of the highly educated ones that they came drop down a grade level or two if they are not too full of themselves. The world doesn’t revolve around them as they too often assume it does

Mildness, meekness—yes, they are qualities spoken of highly in the Bible. Yet they’re hard to dramatize. Take that kid in one of the monthly broadcasts who ran that lift equipment through the wall. “Brother Goofus,” his overseer gushes, “Are you alright?” Okay, so far so good. He would do that. Upon being assured the kid didn’t break his neck, the mild bro  says, “Do you have a moment to meet me in my office?”

Okay, got it. We’re mild. We’re loving. We don’t care about screwing up the project. We see only a teachable moment, and we see it immediately—nothing else enters into our mind. Far be it from us to pull that stunt of Paul and Barnabas and display a sharp outburst of anger. If those guys had been on site, we’d have invited them into our office too. 

A little bit more realism is what I’d love to see. And yet if it is done, someone will be stumbled by it. So we ladle out stuff so bland that it undercuts appreciation, and so unrealistic that the ne’er-do-wells frame it as cult-like. It’s kind a shame that you can’t show human imperfection in your heroes.                          

           

***The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 14, 2022

#publictalk “Are you on the road to everlasting life?”

After outlining a fictional city where every driver makes up his own rules for driving, the speaker asks, “Would you want to drive in that city?”

 

#watchtowerstudy today: “Lessons We Can Learn From Jesus’ Tears.” Theme verse: “Jesus gave way to tears.”​—JOHN 11:35.

The newly associated person who has never commented before tells how he shed tears losing a cousin to a drunk driver.

Imagine. He knows he is going to solve the problem, and still “Jesus gave way to tears.” John 11:35

Para 9: To be frank, washing my car is not a task that would be concerned about one way or the other during grievous times, since I barely attend to it during good times. D8C2DF6F-AF5F-4B6A-8837-93FEE0881EEF

Para 9: Whoa. One sis tells how she is comforting a far-away woman, via frequent calls and texts, whose dad recently succumbed after many weeks of illness. I knew and much liked this fellow, worked closely with him at one point, but had long since lost track of him.

Para 9: Whoa. One sis tells how she is comforting a far-away woman, via frequent calls and texts, whose dad recently succumbed after many weeks of illness. I knew and much liked this fellow, worked closely with him at one point, but had long since lost track of him.

Para 10: The bro who we had over for a meal last night just commented and he said he thinks door-to-door will not return in this covid-conscious world. But I think he is all wet. There is barely any point to upcoming paragraphs in that event.

Footnote Para 12: “The Greek word rendered “neighbor” at Matthew 22:39 can include more than just those who live nearby [but] to anyone with whom a person interacts.’ All the same, in service I refrain from saying ‘We’re calling on our neighbors’ unless I actually live nearby.

Para 15: “It was during those difficult hours that Jesus ‘offered up supplications . . . with strong outcries and tears.’” (Heb. 5:7)  Who can’t identify? It’s easy to talk a good game from the comfort of our lounges.

Para 17: “That might be one rendering of it” says the Wt conductor after a sis gets the picture wrong. No, the guard is not bringing a form to sign involving guilt. He is bringing letters of encouragement.

The Wt study ends with a list of verses in which Jesus wept: John 11:35, Luke 19:21, Luke 22:44, and Hebrews 5:7:

“During his life on earth, Christ offered up supplications and also petitions, with strong outcries and tears, to the One who was able to save him out of death…”

 

Commenting on the cartoon mom reasoning with Caleb to lose the inappropriate toy, one bro says, “I would have just said, ‘That’s going in the trash!’” #midweekmeeting

This one I like: “So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer: “Come and let us cross over to the outpost of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps Jehovah will act in our behalf, for nothing can hinder Jehovah from saving by many or by few.” (1 Sam 14:6)

“But the men of Israel were hard-pressed on that day, for Saul had put the people under this oath: “Cursed is the man who eats any food before the evening and until I have taken vengeance on my enemies!” So [no one] ate any food.” (1 Sam 14:24)   Why would the blockhead do that?

Saul said: “Thus may God do and may he add to it if you do not die, Jonathan.”  But the people said to Saul: “Should Jonathan die….With that the people rescued Jonʹa·than, and he did not die. (1 Sam 14:44) Some days nothing goes right for a guy. Saul is having one of those days.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

No People Ever Lost their Liberties who had a Waterfall one Hundred and Fifty Feet High

If it is up to me, these words of Daniel Webster from a long ago visit to Rochester will grace a plaque at the [hopefully] upcoming High Falls State Park:

Men of Rochester, I am glad to see you, and I am glad to see your noble city. Gentlemen, I saw your Falls, which I am told are one hundred and fifty feet high. That is a very interesting fact. Gentlemen , Rome had her Cæsar, her Scipio, her Brutus, but Rome in her proudest days never had a waterfall one hundred and fifty feet high! Gentlemen, Greece had her Pericles, her Demosthenes, and her Socrates, but Greece in her palmiest days never had a waterfall one hundred and fifty feet high! Men of Rochester, go on. No people ever lost their liberties who had a water fall one hundred and fifty feet high!  (From the book “Rochester—a City Historical,” 1894)

Truncate it a little if need be. I mean, the guy’s a bit of a windbag. But that is what orators did back then in the days before microphones. Yes, and apparently he was told wrong. The falls today are 96 feet high.

A city should always make maximum use of its river area and Rochester doesn’t. This new park of 40 acres would change that. It is a long haul ahead, though. Lands involved “have been used for generations now, primarily for utility generation and they’re contaminated. So, we have to not only acquire them, but make sure the areas are clean and safe for public use.”

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(photo: New York Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Department)

While a college student, I worked three summers for that utility, Rochester Gas and Electric. A summer job and I was happy to have it. One year I worked on the paint crew, one year in the gatehouse, and one year as a welder’s assistant. Some of the guys would mutter all day long about a certain boss known to spy from atop the Platt Street bridge with binoculars to make sure everyone was working.

Funding for the new park is murky. The governor pledges six million to kickstart it. It would be one great way to showcase the city.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 7, 2022

What is Your Relationship with God?’ Is the title of the #publictalk this morning. Speaker is from a congregation I once attended, though he wasn’t there when I was. …1/2

I like this speaker already. His Zoom background is an interior wall on his house—plain and undistracting EXCEPT for a gauge on on his upper left—a thermostat? (Wipe that thought from your mind, Tommy, that maybe he will turn and adjust it!)…2/2

Speaker gives a war scene, not necessary Ukraine. “For about 3 hours we didn’t even move…next day while we were driving away, battle broke out. …very dangerous but staying there was even more dangerous. “ Had to trust in Jehovah, he says, so what is your relationship with God?

(I take it back—it was from the Ukraine)

Each day a challenge, he says. What is a challenge now? With meetings starting up, and we are used to Zoom, will it be hard for some to get back? Speaks of going back to the Kingdom Hall, “getting that big bear hug” and believe me—he looks like he could give one. 254C055D-6E15-424A-871D-C5AEF050B8E0

He even speaks of some having outgrown their clothes! (I am happy to say I have lost weight, not gained during this time)

Speaker concludes with Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good. Happy is the man who takes refuge in him.” “What are your tastebuds like?” he says.

 

 

 

 

“Learn From Jesus’ Younger Brother” is the theme of today’s #watchtowerstudy. “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”​—JAS. 1:1 is the theme scripture…1/2

“Many of you have younger brothers” the chairman says. Uh oh. I’ll refrain from speaking of the big Scrabble cheater here…..2/2

 

Para 3: I love this point. Far from Jesus’ family following his ministry, they thought he was nuts! (though they later came around) “he gone out of his mind,” they said in alarm. (Mark 3:21)

Para 6: Imagine! Religious leaders so concerned about protecting their “power base” (today’s terminology) that they would plot to kill the man Jesus resurrected just to prove he couldn’t do it!  (John 11:53; 12:9-11)

I didn’t get called on! Arrrgghh!! But the conductor was right not to call on me. He entertained about 6-7 different comments & I had commented just three paragraphs ago. He really is a good conductor.

“the Jews were astonished, saying: “How does this man [Jesus] have such a knowledge of the Scriptures when he has not studied at the schools?” (John 7:15)  One disadvantage of “the schools” is resulting inability to be pithy. 30 seconds or less? Fugeddaboutit

Para 11: “Still others had a hard time controlling their tongue.” (Jas. 3:8-10)  Though “free speech” is lauded in the West, the Bible does not celebrate it. Sometimes it celebrates shutting people up, since “the tongue sets the forest afire” and ill words spread “like gangrene.”

Para 13: Imagine how James could have swaggered, being Jesus half-brother. There’s powerful temptation to likewise swagger when awarded responsibilities and roles. Few bros today succumb to that, as James did not.

 

Sometimes you are called for being presumptuous. Sometimes your not. Matthew 12:2-4; Numbers 25:7-9; 1 Samuel 21:1-6. Best to view it as: “Hence, he must have seen some factors about Saul that are not directly stated in the Bible account.” #midweekmeeting

“So keep up the good work,” says the householder to the nine year old child giving her first talk.“Thanks!” she says, brightly as all get-out.

Para 16: I rather like the analogy of commenting to ‘cultivating,’ Recalls to my mind years ago a new person saying how unique congregation meetings were in that “you can prepare for them.” He hadn’t come from a place where preparation made any difference.

Previous week:

Imagine a guy so timid he is hiding among the luggage. “If you’re like me, you imagine his feet and hands sticking out” the chairman says, since Saul was a big guy. 1 Samuel 10:22. #midweekmeeting

The young ministerial servants conducting the gems portion did it just right. No speeches. Just step aside & let the friend comment. The more separate remarks, the better the part.

“Excellent reading,” the chairman remarks on the reading. “You could read the telephone book to me and I’d be thrilled,” whereas the kids in the audience wonder ‘What’s a telephone book?’

“Only after they had a fine meal, a pleasant stroll, a long talk, and a good rest did the prophet feel that the right moment had arrived to anoint Saul.” Sure enough.

Here is a bro telling how he helped his Luddite student to use a tablet. He is the same bro I bought his old iPad from years ago. I was slow to adopt to the new tech but once I did I never carried another piece of paper again. It is well the Luddite did upgrade his skills because his 3D flip phone will not work in just a few days.

“Your sons will take the place of your forefathers. You will appoint them as princes in all the earth.” (Ps 45:16) Just how that works is the topic of discussion at the congregation Bible study.

Para 12  So approachability is the feature stressed the 12 gates of Ezekiel’s city. Gates were a rarity in the ancient world—you do as few as possible for the challenge of defending them.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Each One Will Fall in His Own Particular Way—The Wrath of Rolf

Now we know how many tears we can shed over Rolf, who has become the enemy of the good in his quest for the ‘perfect.’

https://bitterwinter.org/norway-decision-against-the-jehovahs-witnesses/

So much for his “beloved religion”—wasn’t that in the title? 

Lloyd goes down in flames and Rolf steps up to the plate. I’d better not read in a few years that he’s also chasing after the sex workers in Thailand. 

 

They lay on counsel with a trowel at Bethel. Always have, probably always will. It is because they are, and usually have been all their lives, full-time servants totally immersed. Most have logged serious hours in the preaching work over many decades. They have gone eyeball to eyeball with those who oppose the good news (and endeavor to shield others from it), and consequently—are they ever given to overstatement?

Yeah, I get it—that picture of the Witness couple watching the Peace and Security announcement is a bit much. But you can bet the Russian brothers and sisters don’t see it that way. Not when they (and we) have seen headlines that Jehovah’s Witnesses are no longer allowed in that land. I recall a circuit assembly demonstration in the 70s of a couple picking up their newpaper and reading that Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned. It is reality in Russia today. Other nations have followed suit, and there are plenty of others in which serious efforts are made for that outcome. 

Why don’t the “more reasonable” brothers take these “most zealous” brothers in tow? Because the zealous ones are the ones who have done the work. The “more reasonable” ones would not be up to it—they would be sunk by too many other diversions and responsibilities. Do not come even remotely close to the superfine apostles who wanted to outrank Paul in influence but not in work. Explore  “what’s wrong” with this or that bit of spiritual food? Better to look for ways that it might work, rather than for ways that it might not.

I’ve mentioned before a past buddy named Mike. He was crazy weird and unbalanced. Orphaned at a young age, he was literally brought up in a traveling circus that became his family, where he learned that the purpose of people was to manipulate them as marks. He latched on to the truth like a guard dog latching on to your parka and did not let go, though he was so nutty that he seriously tested many a person’s patience and ultimately his own broken past did him in—though he did die faithful. I wrote in ‘No Fake News’ something to the effect that he was broken when we found him, and we didn’t fix him, but we fixed him about as much as might be possible in this system of things. 

Anyhow, he had an amazing gift for simplifying the complex. I recall him explaining to someone how the Governing Body just studies and studies their Bibles all day long, and they notice something. They discuss with each other that something that they’ve noticed, and eventually it comes out as printed counsel.

Now the thing is, he would explain, you also study your Bible, and in the course of your study you may have noticed that point too, maybe even before they did. “And if this was Christendom, you’d run out and start your own religion over it.” Thus in the simplest possible way, he balanced personal initiative with recognition of headship.

He had come into the truth when, despondent because his life was totally in the crapper, he called in tears a friend who’s life was also in the crapper. That friend said he didn’t know what might help, but he was taking a Bible study from a Jehovah’s Witness and invited Mike to join. Mike listened for an hour, then pulled $100 from his wallet. “Here—this is what you want—take it!” The brother demurred and Mike pushed back, “Take it! Why else would anyone do what you are doing. We both know this is a scam!” The brother then misapplied the James verse about if anyone turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save him from death and will cover a multitude of sins. “I’ve committed a lot of sins in my life. I have a lot of sins I need covered.” Silence, as Keith (the friend) related to me. Then—uncontrolled sobbing as Mike broke down in tears (and Keith was mortified that once again his crazy friend, absolutely without self-control, was disrupting a simple discussion—but after that Mike made lightening-like progress.

Rolf didn’t get his way, so he brings wrath upon his “beloved religion” like the Misery heroine brought wrath upon her beloved author—it serves as a cautionary tale. One moment you’re expounding upon how you disagree with this or with that policy or interpretation and the next moment you’re breaking ankles with a sledge hammer. 

I don’s seriously fear that I may follow Roff even though I’ve indulged in some minor muttering over the years. I am not proud. Seared into my being is what Jehovah has done for me. I am loyal by nature. I am a peacemaker. I am not critical A better companion you never will find. If I was hours late for dinner would you bellow? Of course not!

His publisher sent me a copy of his book. I don’t think I ever contacted him, but I may have tagged him somewhere along the line. At any rate I have a Rolf category in my blog—mostly disjointed musings that I’ve not done much with. Maybe that came to his attention somehow. Or even when I applied the Bob Dylan lyric to him: “But oh mama, ain't you gonna miss your best friend nowYou're gonna have to find yourselfAnother best friendsomehow,” along with “who’s gonna be his best friend now, Patiently Sitting on his Hands?”

He gifted me his book, so I gifted him mine, TrueTom vs the Apostates, with the note:

My works are not so rigorous as yours—I intentionally keep a light tone and I do not pretend to be a scholar—but hopefully succeed in looking at things from atypical points of view. To take one topic that you develop, I have included a chapter on disfellowshipping. I have no problem conceding that anything done could be done differently, nor that ‘kicking against the goads’ might be painful. This particular chapter, ‘In Defense of Shunning’ makes some inferences from Mark Smith’s book, Secular Faith. The WT has quoted from that book, which led me to examine it all. You have generously offered your work. I do the same.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/917311

On things that might cause stumbling regarding organizational directing, well, not all is as I personally would like it. I take the Rolling Stones song as though my own, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ I’ve also observed that the point of contention is always going to be the divine/human interface, and have been so bold to speculate that this is even true with Judas (not making comparisons with yourself) himself: he and God were tight. No problems there. But this character claiming to be the messiah was not at all what Judas had expected

As to direction perceived as unwise, that could be applied to the Lord himself. ‘To whom shall we go?’ Peter said in response to the latter’s blood and flesh remark. Why did Jesus say it as he did? No clue here. ‘What a dumb thing to say!’ I can easily picture the point being made, since enemies would seize upon it later to spread the ill rumor that Christians practiced cannibalism.

“I have heard your book caused ousting from the congregation and so feel obliged to mention that I do not blow off counsel on interacting with DFed ones as nothing. I don’t consider myself ‘above it.’ But nothing is absolute, and most things need not be taken to the nth degree. (‘I could feel the wind’ said someone of how, when they were DFed, she said such to a certain JW who immediately turned away.) Indeed, the online world presents scenarios where you might easily be dealing with DFed ones unknowingly, (‘Every man online is a liar’ is my modification of Romans 3:4) so I appreciate when people are upfront and try to be the same.”

I’m just amazed at how fast a critical person can fall. I would not have thought it of Rolf, the intellectual counterpart of fleshy Lloyd, who goes in for the sex trade of Thailand—illustrating, I guess, that each one will fall in this own particular way. 

Shocking to those of the Western world, the Bible does not celebrate free speech. Sometimes it celebrates shutting people up, as in “It is necessary to shut their mouths, because these very men keep on subverting entire households by teaching things they should not for the sake of dishonest gain.” If I have advanced the notion that the brothers may overreact on negative talk, I also recognize the verse of contrary talk that spreads like gangrene,as well as the tongue being the most potent weapon of all, capable of setting ablaze the entire forest. So I always check that it is a rainy day before I say anything and even then I keep my forcefulness in check. (Titus 1:11, 2 Timothy 2:17, James 3:5)

Someone online mentioned that he might be in hot water if the brothers back home knew the freeness of speech he engages in here. It is a problem i don’t have. Unlike everyone else here, my writing is well known to the brothers back home and to Bethel itself. Not that I imagine anyone follows me closely, probably not at all, but I have made no secret of how I blog and word gets around—even though it is something I never mention at the Hall. Knowing that anyone could follow me at any time imposes a discipline onthat has served me well. It has impressed upon me an art of showing myself supportive and respectful. “There is a downside of this” comes across as supportive. “I don’t agree with this” does not.

My practice of tweeting the meeting drew the attention of some (and has also blown over). One of the elders began to follow me on Twitter. Now, this is not a ‘monitoring elder’ I don’t think—this is one much like myself in many ways. It benefited me for him to do this, for in the assurance of anonymity I had tweeted a few tweets that if the person I spoke of knew it, there might be hurt feelings. Now I have improved to where, though I will do foibles, they will not be such that would cause hurt feelings even if the brother or sister did hear of them.

With the exception, of course, of the brother who follows me. On occasion I will tweet something like, “Another comment from that elder who is the worst speaker in the entire circuit, possibly the entire world. He follows me here on Twitter so I try to make it worth his while.”

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Tweeting the Meeting: February 23, 2022

#publictalk today is entitled: ‘What is Your Standing with God?’ The ‘great cloud’ of witnesses Heb 11 will be focus. Somewhere I recall reading that Greek word for ‘cloud’ is not those puffy clouds of a half-sunny day but a completely enveloping cloud, often used metaphorically.

‘“Who here likes camping?’ the speaker queries & several raised hands. Sure. It’s fun, he agrees. “But there is a threshold at which camping is no longer fun.” He is speaking of Abraham at Hebrews 11:8-9 …1/2

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance…he lived as a foreigner in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise.”…2/2

Another anecdote the speaker lays on us from his high school days when apparently he was a hot shot athletes. Gym pupils told to line up to race, first place will earn an A—an easy A, he thought as he won the race. ….1/3

But it was an F! “You see these things called lanes? You’re supposed to stay in them!”…..2/3

Why do I think of my high school gym teacher, a popular crew cut guy with super deep voice who nonetheless struck terror into even the toughest kids when he was angry. “Thirty sit-ups!” he tell the class. Glancing at his belly, he’d add, “I can’t—but you’d better!”….3/3

 

#WatchtowerStudy today entitled: Continue to “Listen to Him”   Theme verse: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved. Listen to him.”​—MATT. 17:5. Such was the transfiguration voice from heaven that cut off Peter as he was talking just for the sake of talking

Focus of first half of study: “Go in through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it;whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life” with few finding it. Matt 7:13-14

Para 6: the “guardrail near the edge of a narrow mountain road [that] serves as a protection’ resonates with one sis who knows of many such passages “in West Virginia.”

The steep drop off reminds me of some Vietnamese refugees we befriended who immediately crossed ….1/2

the “DO NOT CROSS” sign at Letchworth (because they couldn’t read English” to stare down from cliff edge. They were not impressed. There were deeper drop offs in Vietnam, they told me…..2/2

Matt 5:23-24 is the 2nd focus of the study: “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away. …1/2

First make your peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.”   Be a peacemaker is the idea.

Para 11; A wonderful and heartwarming account of Jacob making peace with his brother. I apply it to making peace with my brother, even if he is a no-good Scrabble cheat (like last night)

Para 14. One bro says of the 12-step program that it includes seeking out those you are not on good terms with and making amends. I did not know this of that program. It’s not easy to do, he says “since we all have egos.”

Para 14:  One bro recalls how he did become a peacemaker with one who bore him a grudge. “I had to buy him a couple of dinners, but it was worth it,” he says.

Para 16: “Remember that restoring peace with your brother is more important than establishing who was right and who was wrong.​.” Would have been hard on Jacob had he done that, wouldn’t it? ‘You see, Esau, the problem was that you were a lout.’  Best not go there.

 

Ha! The midweekmeeting  chairman taking much ribbing over his new wallpaper background of ‘x’s and ‘o’s. Looks like he posts his tic tac toe games, one bro says. Looks like the curtain into the Most Holy, another says. (It doesn’t)

‘Hugs and kisses,’ probably. It’s sort of an optical illusion and looks different up close.

 

I really hope no one goes on and on about the 1 Samuel 6:4-5 images of the golden piles tonight. I mean, how crass.

Yeah, He ridicules and insults the false gods, one bro says, and those who put trust in them. They are compelled to make images of their piles. Oh my. 8C9E633E-960B-410C-B651-A98B2C789BBD

Is this the verse that accounts for Indiana Jones knowing enough not to look upon the Ark of the Covenant where is his impious foes did not and got their heads mashed? “But God struck down the men of Beth-sheʹmesh, because they had looked upon the Ark of Jehovah.” 1 Samuel 6:19

One sis recalls the childhood game ‘Hot Potato’ as she comments on the verses of passing along the Ark to others.

Yikes! Searching for the right word and he can’t find it. I’ve been there. Chairman is ‘aghast —in a good way’ at the quality of a bro’s reading. Isn’t aghast by definition ‘a bad way?’

My wife has a talk coming up. As it will mean turning the laptop away from me, she checks behind her to see the house in uncluttered back there. Don’t sweat it, dear. Nothing but Better Homes and Garden here.

The chairman makes a really good point that in assembling material for a talk, you gather far more than you will use. It gives you both confidence and depth. Newbie speakers sometimes don’t know this.

Garrison Keillor used to tell of Pastor Inqvist, trying to spice up his sermons by taking tips from the TV preachers. Alas, he began pausing in such odd…………………….places that no one could follow him.

That mountain in the Pure Worship book is high—far higher & more prominent than in any actual scene, with river flowing from within, and reinforces the point that instruction, reinforcement, blessing, whatever will be from God.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)